Recreational use of marijuana and UC Santa Cruz—what you need to know

Most of you probably already know that recreational use of marijuana became legal in California on Jan. 1, 2018, for those over the age of 21, through the passage of Prop. 64. For many important reasons, it's not allowed on campus in any form (nor are tobacco products, but you already knew that). 
In order to care for yourself and others as recreational marijuana becomes more available, here are the top six things you need to know.
  1. Call 911, without hesitation, if you or someone near you needs help because you suspect overdose and/or are concerned about someone’s health or well-being. Even if you aren't sure or don't want to get anyone in trouble, please call.

    Do NOT just take them back to their room, tuck them into a bed, and leave them alone, as they need to be observed and properly cared for. You could save a life!

  2. Marijuana may seem less dangerous than other drugs, but THC levels (the psychoactive component of marijuana) can vary widely—and coupling marijuana with other drugs just increases the danger of overdosing or dying. This past fall quarter, we helped provide immediate medical care, including hospitalization, because of the dangerous effects of ingesting high levels of THC.
  3. Cannabis can be added to almost any food or drink, including baked goods. It is important to educate yourself about an edible’s effects, which may last up to 6 to 8 hours, as eating too much THC can be very unpleasant and disorienting. It can cause hallucinations and disorientation, and even "scromiting"—a combination of vomiting and screaming. 

  4. There are laws about advertising and marketing goods and services on campus (it’s not always legal), and like all advertisements, they may not always have accurate information about the risks. 
  5. Having marijuana on campus means you can still get in trouble—up to and including dismissal and/or face criminal charges.
  6. Educate yourself. It is important for you to understand the information about the signs of overdose, dosage levels, and product labels. Additionally, there are campus resources available to you if you have questions.

An overdose can vary from person to person. However, most people experiencing an overdose present these common symptoms:
  • Will NOT wake up—unconscious and unresponsive 
  • Unable to stand, walk, or have control of their bodily functions 
  • Uncontrollable vomiting 
  • Slow/irregular breathing-gurgled sounding 
  • Pale skin 
  • Bluish tinge to mouth and fingernails
California’s new regulations require all edibles to clearly indicate THC content and divide edibles into serving sizes of 10 milligrams, with no more than 100 milligrams in a package.  The onset time for feeling the effects from edibles can be up to 2 hours or more. A large concern is for first-time users who over-ingest marijuana because they don’t understand the dosage levels or have any tolerance with using these drugs. 
When purchasing marijuana, especially edibles, look for the THC content listed in milligrams. Avoid products without lab-tested dosage information, as well as items that list their potency in generic terms such as “extra strength.”  Ask questions of the dispensary staff about cannabidiol ratios and the contents of what you are about to purchase.
If you or someone you care about needs support around overuse of alcohol and/or drugs or would like to learn more about marijuana, alcohol or other drugs, utilize the resources provided through the Student Health Outreach and Promotion (SHOP) program in the Cowell Student Health Center. SHOP is a safe, confidential and nonjudgmental space where students can talk about alcohol and other drugs. 
SHOP also provides services for students in recovery.
For faculty and staff, assistance is available through the Employee Assistance Program.
"Party like a SLUG! What's your Party Plan?" is based on the philosophy that our students can have a fun social life in college without putting themselves or others in danger. "Party like a Slug! What's Your Party Plan?" strives to provide information, strategies, and opportunities to engage in honest dialog to help make UC Santa Cruz student's partying experience safer and more fun. "Party like a Slug! What's your party plan?" also aims to support UCSC students who choose not to drink or use drugs. 
For more information check out our developing website: